I still remember that awkward feeling of excitement, nervousness, and reality setting in when I boarded the airplane in January of this year to leave NYC. I had been mostly excited up until November. Then I started feeling nervous when I had to think about saving money (harder when you’re not working) and looking for a place to stay. Then reality hit me in late December, perhaps after I received my visa and cooked Christmas dinner with my family and friends for the last time. January was coming too quickly, I still had lots of packing to do, some stuff to pre-read before the school year starts, and I didn’t (and never would) have enough money saved up.
It took me awhile to call London home and I remember exactly when that was. It was my first night in Copenhagen in late August. I haphazardly planned the trip (bought tickets and accommodations), but I didn’t have any plans for the whole week except to visit a friend outside the city for a day. By the time I arrived, it was late afternoon and I was staying in a room in a nice house-share away from the center, on a street that I couldn’t pronounce. I sat on the tiny bed and thought about the comforts of my full size bed and my laptop with amazon prime where I could fall asleep to a movie. Yes, I had missed my home, London. I was not thinking of New York or how I could call a friend to hang out in Manhattan or Brooklyn, I wanted to go back to London and sit at my pub down the street.
And now the time has come again to pack up and start again. For almost seven months I will be in West Africa conducting field research for my thesis. I have my documents ready and am anxiously awaiting to process my visa. I am unable to sublet my apartment while I am gone, so I had to give it up and will my put my belongings in storage, except for a tumble dryer if anyone is interested in buying my appliance. I’ll be starting over in London again, when I return in the summer. I won’t say Thanksgiving was miserable, but without the dinner and the fuss, it was depressingly quiet and it looks like Christmas may be too. However, I will return home a for few days before boarding at JFK airport again for another stage of my life.
Damn, coming home from college (it soundsso lame after 25). I wonder how everyone looks? Maybe my room looks ten times smaller or my neighborhood has burned to the ground. Hey, I’ve been following what’s been going on in the States. I also kept up with local gossip, I know who broke up, who got together, who left my old job (besides me!), who just had a baby, who is engaged, in short everyone but me. Yep, everyone has moved on and for a moment that makes me feel insecure. I mean, shouldn’t I be an associate director or junior vice president now with a bun in the oven and an anxious first time buyer? Not that I really want to be in that world, but I am re-thinking life as a post-grad student and what contributions I can make in my field at this level. In other words, I don’t see the light yet and I’m a little anxious about that. On top of that, it doesn’t help that my supervisors also seem anxious and that just makes me more anxious, oh and I’m broke.
I’m also fairly certain we are heading into another recession in 1-2 years, so my prospects for a job opportunity when I come out of this will also be poor. Thus, rounding back to the same old question of, “what is the meaning of my life?” Happiness is key, but finding what makes us happy is so hard! And I wonder why, don’t we know ourselves best? Why does it take so long or so many trials to find something that makes one happy? Obviously, someone who is happy has to give me some advice here!
In the meanwhile, I’ll be packing up.